Sebastian de la Cruz is one lucky little guy. His parents adore him, his aunt recently sprung into heroic action to save his life, and the five-month-old boy will soon be somebody’s big brother. Sebastian’s mother, Paola Vargas, recently announced she’s three months pregnant.
Sebastian had been having problems breathing for the last few weeks when, on February 20, he stopped breathing altogether while riding with his aunt, Pamela Rauseo. Her immediate actions, including administering CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), kept him alive until first responders could reach them and take the baby to a hospital.
Rauseo and her nephew were stuck in traffic on Miami’s Dolphin Expressway when she noticed the child wasn’t breathing. She immediately moved the car to the side of the road, jumped out of the driver’s seat, and into the back seat, where Sebastian was unconscious in his baby seat.
Once he was out of the car seat and out of the vehicle, Rauseo began doing CPR on the baby. The child soon started breathing again but, just as soon, stopped breathing a second time. Rauseo resumed CPR and continued until medical help arrived.
Lucila Godoy was also stuck in the traffic jam that day. When she saw what was happening with Rauseo and baby Sebastian, she stopped to help. She left her own 3-year-old son safely in the car while she assisted and comforted Rauseo.
Al Diaz was also stuck in that same traffic jam. Diaz, a photographer for the Miami Herald, flagged down policemen also stuck in traffic. As Rauseo, Godoy, and the policemen worked together to revive the baby, Diaz captured the harrowing ordeal on camera.
Little Sebastian was transported to nearby Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he remains for observation and tests to determine why he’s having problems breathing. Medical personnel and the first responders on the scene say Sebastian survived because of his aunt’s immediate, instinctive actions.
The correct technique for CPR varies according to the age of the victim. It’s important to push hard and rhythmically on the chest of a person not breathing in order to force blood to pump through the heart and into the body. The pressure required to revive an adult is much stronger than what a baby requires.
The rhythm of the pumping is important, too, and another Miami link makes it easy to remember. Recent studies on the most effective way to perform CPR indicate that the beat of the popular Bee Gee's song, “Stayin' Alive,” is perfect. It’s rhythm is almost identical to the rhythm of a healthy heart, the tune is easy to remember, and the sentiment describes the mission perfectly.
The Bee Gees were a pop music group of brothers from Australia who enjoyed tremendous success, especially after their song, “Stayin' Alive,” became a success around the world and was featured in the 1970s John Travolta hit movie, Saturday Night Fever. The brothers lived in Miami at the time and the governor officially declared them honorary citizens of the state.